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Published: September 20th 2013
A couple of days to relax and explore Livingstone...
Day one Livingstone living...
Jollyboys backpackers offered a free walking tour of Livingstone every Wednesday, so whilst we were there we took the opportunity. Our guide, Leo, took us around the main streets, of which there aren't many! We saw the first church built in 1902, the high court, the post office, and other central buildings. We went to the back street and to the market where we could see all sorts of beans, dried fish, fruits, vegetables, and even dried caterpillars for sale. We saw the hotel where the Queen once visited as a Princess, but unfortunately it is now very run down and waiting for someone to invest in its restoration. In the courtyard was a huge fig tree with figs all over the branches - the fruit does not grow on the ends. It attaches itself to the branch. Our guide told us that as children they used to attach some figs to a branch themselves, and wait for a bird to come along and they would catch the bird!
We also went to the curios market, where everybody is your friend or sister.
"Hello sister, come and take a look. You can touch. Touching is free." It isn't China-style hassle - all the sellers were lovely and friendly just going about their business. We didn't stop for long, so once the tour was over, Linz and I went back to do some bargaining for souvenirs.
We stopped for some lunch after the tour and had a typical Zambian restaurant experience.... "I'd like the ...." "I'm sorry we don't have the ....". We chose a local place and I managed to eat my meal with the nshima (maize staple food) and no cutlery - quite proud!
We walked to the sister version of our hostel to book our safari trip. Whilst there we once again gatecrashed the nice surroundings and layed by the pool writing postcards! Once the sun went down it got a bit chilly. We walked back to the hostel for layers, and then visited Olga's, a fantastic Italian restaurant that supports the local catering/trade skills school. Even though the restaurant was near, we got a taxi the short ride home because we had been warned against walking at night after around 9pm. The lack of
streetlights also makes it difficult.
Day two Livingstone living....
With a relaxing day ahead, we had a leisurely breakfast in the hostel and sat by the pool to do some planning for the rest of the trip. I did some hand washing in the laundry sink al fresco and hung it on the line to dry in the heat of the day.
We walked to the centre of town among lots of school children who we assumed were on their way back to school after their lunch break. Some of them were very young, walking alone or with friends.
Looking for a touch of luxury, we took a taxi to the Royal Livingstone hotel, which is ridiculously nice! (see previous blog!) We layed by the pool and had some drinks in the afternoon sun, with a view of the Zambezi. Absolute bliss. The constant "smoke that thunders" (Victoria falls) was visible on the horizon beyond Livingstone Island. As the sun went down we went for a walk along the grounds of the resort which is inside the national park and alongside the Zambezi. With a perfect spot at the riverfront
bar, we settled in to watch the sun set. Life was good....then it got even better! On a trip to the toilet... I saw 4 zebras! I still can't quite believe that sentence when I write it! Monkeys were clambering around. Soon enough, a whole group of Impalas came grazing. This is Africa.
It just got better and better. The sky was melting red and yellow and orange as the sun went down, casting silhouettes from the trees. A fellow tourist pointed out a crocodile gliding serenely in the water! The scene was topped off by the sound of hippos, before spotting two of them in the water.
I'm so glad Lindsay was with me to verify all this because I can't quite believe it's all true myself! With all these animals amidst our sunset sundowner, it was quite appropriate that the next stop was safari...Botswana calling.
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